The number one leading cause of death for leaders is distractions. Distractions have killed more leaders than anything else I know.
Now let me clarify for a minute. When I say death, I mean being removed as a leader whether it is losing a job or being asked to step down.
Why are distractions the leading killer for leaders? I believe there are two main reasons.
One is because they are so enticing. They often appear as fires that need immediate attention. They beckon for our help and often make us feel that if we don’t react quickly, then we will be burned. They also entice us by making us believe we are the only ones who can properly deal with them and thus lure us away from what is most important. Distractions are also enticing because they make us feel we are busy, we are solving problems, and we are involved yet they keep us from those things that only we can and should be doing as a leader.
Two is because distractions are a slow killer. Distractions do not kill leaders in one day or with one big bang. Rather they slowly and subtly take a leader’s attention off what really matters. They gradually divert a leaders focus from the important and replace it with a focus on accomplishing unimportant things—or at least things that could be and should be handled by someone else. Before a leader realizes it, distractions slowly move them off course.
So my message today is simple. Distractions are dangerous! Don’t sacrifice the things that matter most! The things that only you can do as a leader. Don’t get sidetracked by unimportant things that may keep you busy but never lead to results. Have the resolve to do those things that are really important—that will help you achieve phenomenal results. Don’t allow distractions to make you another casualty!